Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on November 29, 2001. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Vance H. Watson Named Interim Vice President
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Vance H. Watson, director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, has been named interim vice president of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine and interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Mississippi State University. The appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2002, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.
Watson will carry out responsibilities of the vice president and dean during the period that J. Charles Lee, current DAFVM vice president and CALS dean, serves as the university's interim president. In addition, Watson will sustain his current responsibilities as MAFES director, with full authority for decision making, resource allocation, and general management of the unit.
In making the appointment, Lee said, Dr. Watson has a broad understanding of the issues and opportunities facing the Division, the state and federal legislative processes, and the role of the Division in serving the needs of our state. I am confident that he can provide the leadership needed during this interim period.
Watson, a Missouri native, has spent his entire career serving the people of Mississippi. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1964 with a degree in general agriculture and earned a master of science degree in agronomy at the University of Missouri in 1966. He completed a doctorate in agronomy with a minor in botany at MSU in 1969.
Starting his career as assistant agronomist with MAFES in 1966, Watson was appointed assistant professor of agronomy in 1969. He advanced to the rank of professor of agronomy and was appointed agronomist in 1977. He was chosen to serve as assistant to the MAFES director in 1982 with responsibility for coordination of forage programs.
In 1987 he assumed added duties as head of the MAFES auxiliary units responsible for foundation seed stocks and variety evaluations. In 1990 he was appointed head of the MAFES main station, and in 1992 he became head of MAFES research support units. In 1995 he was appointed MAFES assistant director for research support and since 1996 has served as MAFES director.
Watson is the author of more than 300 publications, including six textbook chapters. He has traveled in more than 50 countries on a variety of agricultural missions. Leadership positions in addition to his university appointments include five years as executive vice president of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies, an international organization for genetic standards and certification of 3,500 varieties of crops produced in nine countries.
He was a member of the official United States delegation for setting world policy on seed certification. He served as team leader for review of Peace Corps agricultural programs in Thailand for the U.S. State Department.
Watson's honors include selection as a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. He has received the First Mississippi Corporation Award for outstanding MAFES worker and the MSU Alumni Award for excellence in research. He has been named professor of the year by two different student organizations and has received numerous other awards and honors.
Watson will serve as interim vice president and interim dean until a permanent replacement for departing MSU President Malcolm Portera has been appointed.
The Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine comprises three colleges and four other units. They are the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Forest Resources, and Veterinary Medicine; the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station; the MSU Extension Service; the Forest and Wildlife Research Center; and the Office of International Programs.
Watson resides in Starkville with his wife, Jo Ann. They have three children and four grandchildren.